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Thursday 18 February 2021
Dear sector colleagues,
Last year, we were shocked and saddened by the horrendous death of Annie Smith. Today, criminal proceedings against her former support worker returned to court.
While I will not risk prejudicing these proceedings by making any specific comments on the matter, I would like to acknowledge the real improvements that have been made to our systems of safeguarding for vulnerable people with disability.
While Annie was an NDIS participant and no longer one of our clients, South Australia has rightly taken the time to reflect and learn from the horrific failings in her care.
We at DHS are working hard to respond to the recommendations of the independent safeguarding task force, including:
- The establishment of a new, state-wide individual advocacy service to help South Australians with disability access and receive the supports they need;
- Supporting more than 90 state authorities to publish their Disability Access and Inclusion Plans;
- Executing new signed agreements with the Commonwealth to allow information held by the NDIS Commission to be shared with state agencies; and
- Expanding the powers of the Adult Safeguarding Unit to cover vulnerable adults living with disability.
You can read more about each of these actions on the DHS website.
While there is still more work to be done, these actions have made a meaningful difference to the lives of vulnerable people with disability in our state.